Then I headed onto Green Lanes, one of my favourite food shopping streets. There are very few Greek shops left here: the Greeks have moved northwards and now it's dominated by Turkish businesses. I saw two Greek restaurants: both closed and gone. But one bastion of greekness remains - Baldwins Butchers, run by a cheery Greek Cypriot. It's a fab shop. As well as a fine array of meaty goodness, there are dry goods, olive oil, halva, and I spotted some mastik. I bought Greek and Italian sausages, and asked if they knew where I could track down some Mythos, my beery tipple on Skiathos. My first lead came to nothing, so I resumed shopping at one of the best stores on Green Lanes - Yasar Halim.
One of my store cupboard staples is pekmez - a molasses normally made from pomegranate, grape, raisin or carob. Pekmez is a luscious sweet/sour combination, and a vital ingredient for some of my favourite aubergine dishes. I was very excited to find some mulberry pekmez, which I'd not seen before. Next door in the bakery, I picked up an olive bread and one of those Turkish snail-shell curled buns, rich with sugar and ground nuts.
Since returning from Greece, I've been mooching over the cookery books I have that cover the area, including Paula Wolfert and (of course) Claudia Roden. And I've discovered another book which I've loved reading.
Susanna Hoffman has lived in Greece for 30 years, and the book is a compendium of food, culture, myths and memories. Susanna's recipe for stuffed vine leaves (the veggie variety) includes dried apricots and wine-soaked raisins. The one ingredient I haven't got in stock is pine nuts - I adore them and tend to run out fast. So that's gone on the shopping list so that I can make dolmades at the weekend.